New & Used Acura RLX: In Depth
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The Acura RLX is a full-size luxury sedan that’s meant to bring the brand upmarket from previous models with its pricing and equipment options. It replaced the RL in the Acura lineup in the 2014 model year.
As the biggest, most technology-rich offering in the Acura lineup, the RLX brings with it several new features that highlight its place in the brand. A new all-wheel-drive system with advanced torque vectoring is the basis for an upcoming hybrid model. The front-drive version, meanwhile, has rear-wheel steering, delivered by a pair of rear-wheel actuators linked to the electric power steering system.
MORE: Read our 2014 Acura RLX review for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings
Technology aside, the more luxurious and spacious interior may be just as deserving of the new name. With 2 inches more in the wheelbase and 2 inches greater width, the new car offers more cabin space in about the same length as the old RL.Styling is attractive but hardly radical, with a typically aggressive Acura stance and a smooth arched roofline fronted by 'Jewel Eye' LED headlamps—framed in a dual-stacked array, with ultra-reflective optical lenses, that should be distinctive day or night.
Power is provided by Honda's well-known 3.5-liter V-6, with the optional Sport Hybrid system adding a triple-electric-motor hybrid system and a lithium-ion battery pack. Two of the motors power the rear wheels, in the latest version of Acura's SH-AWD system--replacing the mechanical all-wheel drive of its predecessor, the RL. Anticipated fuel efficiency is in the range of 30 mpg combined. The Acura RLX also comes as a front-wheel-drive model, with a 310-horsepower version of that V-6. A six-speed automatic with paddle shift controls and a sport shift mode is the only gearbox offered.
All RLX models include both Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning, with Lane Keep Assist as an addition to the latter. The RLX has aced the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's tests, earning it the Top Safety Pick Plus award from the IIHS. Although the RLX has not gone through the Federal government's testing yet, Acura is confident that the new model will earn a top five-star rating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Outside of the choice to go hybrid/AWD or not, the 2014 Acura RLX comes in five trim grades: RLX, RLX with Navigation, RLX with Technology package, RLX with Krell Audio package, and RLX with Advance package. The navigation system now includes surface-street traffic, and security features include stolen vehicle tracking, airbag deployment notification remote locking and unlocking, and 24-hour concierge services. Infotainment systems use both an embedded data connection and smartphone integration. The RLX will feature a next-generation AcuraLink Communication system, with dual LCD display screens, high-end audio, the Aha streaming-audio interface, and an expanded range of infotainment and connectivity features.
While the Sport Hybrid model was promised for 2014, it still hasn't gone on sale now that 2015 models are arriving at dealers. Acura has been delaying products of late, including the new TLX sedan, to make sure they're ready for consumption, and it appears the same is true of the interesting new all-wheel-drive hybrid RLX model.